Five top police officers from Phuket Thailand’s Patong police station have been transferred to the provincial head office. This is in the wake of a video exposing an entertainment venue at a hotel in Patong, staying open beyond the legal time limit.
Pol Lt Gen. Surachate Hakparn, assistant national police chief, told the media on Sunday the Top 5 policemen would work at the provincial headquarters to clear the way for a fact-finding panel to investigate the case.
Investigators will question local police to determine whether the hotel violated the rules.
The police station chief and his deputies make up the so-called Big Five.
On Saturday, during the Songkran holiday, crusading lawyer Sittra Biabangkerd posted a video clip on his Facebook page of a nightspot that has been operating well beyond legal closing hours in Patong.
Phuket Patong Police Station Notified Over Violations
He said in his video that he had received complaints from local residents. Over the years, they claimed the Patong Bay Hill Resort Hotel had opened its entertainment venues past the legal closing time, causing annoyance to the public.
According to the attorney, he notified the authorities, but nothing was done. In a report, he explained that he had come to Phuket and seen with his own eyes that the hotel’s nightclubs operated throughout the night until dawn.
In response, the lawyer asked why the Phuket police chief had not enforced the law and turned a blind eye to violations of Covid-19 restrictions and emergency decree.
There is no way that entertainment outlets in the hotel could have operated beyond their permitted opening hours, catering to about 1,000 clients a day, without the knowledge of the Patpong Police station. There may have been bribes paid,” Mr. Sittra believes.
The video clip he made showed a poolside venue with music being played to a number of late-night patrons.
At approximately 11:00 p.m. that night, approximately 50 employees of the hotel gathered in Soi Bang La in Patong to demonstrate against his video.
The protest began with hotel employees holding placards reading “We are hungry” and “We don’t want to lose our jobs.”
One of the hotel’s shareholders, who asked not to be named, said the lawyer acted without authority. His actions might have made some hotel staff fear losing their jobs, so they protested symbolically, he explained.
The same could apply to a great many other businesses, he said.
According to a protester, since the outbreak of Covid-19, the residents of Patong have had difficulty making ends meet. “We only hope he understands our situation,” he added.
Stringent Covid-19 restrictions, including the closure of eateries, were previously imposed on the island of Phuket. Since the Phuket sandbox scheme re-opened the island to tourists opening hours for restaurants and other venues serving alcohol with food have been extended to 11 pm.
In response to the protest, the lawyer said he represented Phuket locals who have suffered because entertainment venues in the resort operate beyond legal hours.